Over a year ago, Uber announced it would open its application program interface, or API, so any app developers could integrate the car service into their app. The implications were huge: users could summon a car with just the tap of a button from Google Maps, OpenTable, Trip Advisor, or any number of other apps.
Late last year, the ride-hail company made the process even easier: just add a few lines of code and boom, an Uber button. And now Uber is seeing some positive results of its API integration project. Metrics prepared by Uber-partner Button, and shared exclusively with The Verge show that apps that added an Uber button saw an 11 percent increase in the time spent by users within the app.
FOLO: Fear Of Linking Out
Users kept coming back to apps with Uber buttons too. The average number of visits to the page with the Uber button on it increased up to 26 percent after a user engaged with the Uber button. And 21 percent of those users came back within 48 hours and used the feature to navigate to Uber again.
Last month, Uber integrated with Facebook Messenger, so users can hail a ride and track their driver's progress from within Facebook's app.
Button co-founder and CEO Mike Jaconi said his company arrived at these statistics after examining user behavior across "over a dozen" of its partner apps with Uber's API integrated, like Foursquare, Goldstar, Quidco, Tripomatic, Resy, and the Washington Redskins. In terms of time spent, Button compared the total amount of time that a user spent in the app 14 days after deep linking to Uber through a button relative to total time spent during the 14 days prior. And it applied a set of criteria, such as users must have been active 14 days prior to the first deep link and ignores "noise" such as users merely testing the deep link to Uber.
Why is Uber boasting about this? According to the ride-hail service, these numbers are meant to assuage developers nervous about deep-linking. "You've heard of FOMO, but we're talking about FOLO: Fear Of Linking Out," Uber says in a statement. "A developer can reasonably ask, ‘If I don't want my users to leave, why would I suggest places for them to go?'"
A less-than-subtle branding opportunity too
Jaconi says his company's research proves that app developers have no need to fear sending their users away, as long as they're providing a service that makes sense. "Being thoughtful about what customers want and providing it to them in a beautiful and simple format is always the right decision," he said, "even if that means sending them outside of your experience."